Born in Basel, Switzerland, Roger Federer was the son of pharmaceutical company employees Robert Federer, who hailed from Switzerland, and his South African wife, Lynette Durand. From an early age, their son had an interest in a wide range of sports, from soccer to badminton and basketball. But Federer's talent for tennis prompted him to hone his focus on that sport, and by the age of 11, he was among the top three junior tennis players in his native country. After winning two national titles in 1993, he joined the national development program of Swiss Tennis at the age of 14. Despite being the youngest player in the program, he swiftly advanced to the front of the pack, capturing the Swiss Junior Champion title for 16-year-olds, among other titles. By 1998, Federer had won both the singles and doubles titles in the junior tournament in Wimbledon and the under 18 category at the Orange Bowl, all of which minted him as the No. 1 player in the junior tennis world. He turned professional that same year, competing in the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) tour, his first Grand Slam tournament at the French Open and Wimbledon within a year's time and the Sydney Olympics in 2000, where he met fellow Swiss professional tennis player Mirka Vavrinec, whom he married in 2009. Federer finally earned his breakout year in 2001, first with his defeat of Julien Boutter, which marks his first ATP tournament victory, and then with three match wins for his country in its Davis Cup win over the United States that same year. In July of that year, he cemented his position as a major up-and-coming player on the international tennis circuit with an astonishing five-set win against seven-time Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras. Over the next few years, Federer struggled to maintain his newfound seating as No. 13 on the world tennis circuit. He won his first Masters Series title against top-ranked Marat Safin in 2002, as well as two Davis Cup singles matches that same year. But he was among the early eliminations at the French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open in 2002, and suffered the personal loss of his former coach and friend, Swiss Davis Cup captain Peter Carter. A run for the Tennis Masters Cup that year was cut short at the semifinals by then-No. 1-ranked Lleyton Hewitt, but Federer fought back valiantly in 2003, capturing three ATP singles titles in rapid succession. However, a crushing defeat at the hands of low-ranked Luis Horna during the finals of the French Open left him doubting his own future. But Federer soon rebounded with major wins during the grass court season, which led to a punishing round of matches at Wimbledon. Despite a serious back injury that required him to take numerous breaks from play, he rocketed through the semifinals to defeat first American favorite Andy Roddick and then Australian Mark Philippoussis, which made him the first Swiss player to land a Grand Slam title. Though subsequent matches at the Swiss Open and Masters Series tournaments resulted in losses, his Wimbledon win had rocketed Federer to the No. 2 spot behind Roddick. It also provided him with the clout to establish the Roger Federer Foundation, which supported education and sports in economically disadvantaged regions. The Wimbledon win also served as the preview for Federer's truly extraordinary year in 2004, which saw him capture three Grand Slam titles. These and other significant wins, including competitions in Dubai, Indian Wells, Hamburg, Toronto, Thailand, Houston and the Swiss Open, minted Federer as the No. 1 player on the international tennis scene, a title he held for the next four years. Attempts to unseat him were frequent and intense, most notably from an up-and-coming player named Rafael Nadal, who would twice defeat him in matches in Miami and the 2005 French Open. But Federer remained steadfast, holding off Andy Roddick at Wimbledon in 2005 and Andre Agassi at the U.S Open that same year, which made him the first male player to claim both of those significant championship titles in back-to-back years. His 2006 season was even more impressive, with three Grand Slam wins, four ATP Masters Series titles and the Tennis Masters Cup, as well as an emotional high water mark with a win at the Swiss Indoors in his hometown of Basel. Only two players were able to stop Federer's relentless forward momentum: Rafael Nadal, who was rapidly becoming his most significant nemesis, and teen Scotsman Andy Murray, who brought his streak to a halt at the Cincinnati Masters that year. Federer's 2006 season was later ranked by Tennis.com as the second greatest season of the Open Era (the post-1968 period when professionals could compete in Grand Slam tourneys). The year was also marked by his appointment as Swiss ambassador to UNICEF. Federer's domination of the game continued into 2007, though there were significant contenders to his crown. Time magazine feted his accomplishments by naming him in their list of the 100 most important people in the world, but tennis observers noted that 2007 was also marked by significant losses to Nadal at the Monte Carlo Masters, Roland Garros at the French Open (for the second time in two years), Djokovic at the Canadian Open and David Nalbandian, who delivered two losses to Federer that year in Madrid and the Paris Masters. These upsets marked the beginning of the end for Federer's four-year hold on the top spot in the game, which came to pass the following year with losses to Djokovic at the Australian Open and Nadal at the French Open and an epic, seven-hour battle at the 2008 Wimbledon Championships. At the time of his upset to Nadal at the latter match, Federer had won 65 consecutive games and held the No. 1 spot for 237 weeks. There were bright spots in 2008, most notably his gold medal in men's doubles with Stanislas Wawrinka at the Beijing Olympics and his fifth consecutive win at the U.S. Open, but Federer's descent to the No. 2 spot behind Nadal was a stunning upset. His time in the sophomore slot proved short-lived. Though 2009 opened on a downbeat note with a loss to Nadal at the Australian Open and significant upsets by Murray and Djokovic, he roared back with a win at the French Open against Robin Söderling, which made him the sixth player in history to complete a Career Grand Slam with wins at all four major championships. His winning streak continued with his seventh win at Wimbledon against Tommy Haas, which pushed him ahead of Ivan Lendl in the record books with 20 Grand Slam wins. Federer struggled through the remainder of the 2009 season, putting up valiant fights at both the U.S. Open and Davis Cup despite serious injuries. But at the end of the year, he was again the No. 1 player in the world - a significant comeback in any sport. His tenure there, however, would prove short-lived. Despite a win at the 2010 Australian Open, he would cede his top ranking to at the French Open to Söderling before falling to No. 3 with a defeat by Tomás Berdych at Wimbledon. In an attempt to stem the tide of losses in his career, Federer hired Pete Sampras' coach, Paul Annacone, to boost his fortunes. The gambit appeared to work, as he returned to No. 2 by defeating Nadal at the ATP World Tour Finals, which granted him his fifth season-ending championship. However, losses to Djokovic at the 2011 Australian Open, Nadal at the French Open and Jo-Wilfred Tsonga at Wimbledon sent him back to No. 3 and closed out his year with no wins at any of the Major competitions, a first for Federer in nearly seven years. He would cling to No. 3 by defeating Nadal, David Ferrer and Tsonga at the 2011 ATP Finals. Federer's 2012 season appeared to move along the same path as his three previous seasons, with wins in Rotterdam, Dubai and Indian Wells balanced by losses at the Australian Open, the Davis Cup and the Italian Open. But he surprised many by swiftly moving up the ranks of the semifinals at Wimbledon to face the top-ranked Djokovic, whom he defeated in four sets. Federer then captured his seventh Wimbledon Championship and the top spot in the world rankings by bringing down Andy Murray. In doing so, he tied with Pete Sampras' record for wins at Wimbledon while surpassing Sampras' record of 286 weeks in the No. 1 seat. He held down the position for a record 300 weeks by defeating his old Olympic partner Wawrinka at the Shanghai Rolex Masters. Again, his grasp on the top spot proved short-lived, as losses to Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro sent him back to No. 2. Though 2013 opened with serious upsets by Murray, Berdych and Nadal, Federer continued to amass records with his 35th consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final and 33rd Grand Slam semi-final by playing at the 2013 Australian Open.
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